Cigar box guitar pt.III

I got the wood for my guitar’s neck. Finally! So I started the build for real today, the first tasks being to craft the head and fret the neck. I’ll be nipping to the local art shop again for some 4mm diameter brass rods to use as fret spacing. Here is the length of oak that is becoming the neck! Its was about 8ft long (I only needed 3ft) and as its an off-cut we got it free (I am taking Graham (Kim’s Dad) every time I need something from a timber yard!)

I shall be ending up with 22 frets on the fret board. The formula used to calculate fret sizes is as follows:-

S = ( L – ( Σ f ) )/17.817

(I apologise to fellow physicists about the lack of clarifying indices in this equation but I can’t figure out how to do it in WordPress!).

which means that a fret size, S, is the length of the string (nut to bridge), L, minus the sum of all other frets already calculated,  Σf, divided by 17.817. For example for the first fret (so Σf=0) with string length L=0.76m,  the first fret will be S=4.22cm wide (from nut to fret spacer).

In a bonus when clearing out the what remains of my stuff still at my parents house a set of string were found, so that has saved me a fiver on this build! To finish here is a picture of the newly crafted head section (tomorrow some drilling will happen!):

Cigar box guitar pt.II

So how is the cigar box guitar project coming along? Well at the moment, for one reason or another, it has become a more theoretical exercise. But here are the bits I have bought so far, with how much of the £60 budget each bit cost.

Cigar box, machine heads, stereo jack, 220kOhm pot.

  • Cigar box: £2.00, bought at Huddersfield second hand market.
  • Stereo Jack: £1.69, Maplin’s in Manchester.
  • 220kΩ potentiometer: £1.41, Maplin’s again.
  • 3 x Machineheads: £7.50, from the Guitar shop near my house.
  • Brass tube: £2.05, local art shop.

So the total so far stands at a staggering £14.65, just less than a quarter of my total budget! The most expensive item of the project, the pickup, is yet to be bought but looks like I might be able to splash out a bit on this in the end. I hope to get started on the build around Hallowe’en.

Finally as I ended the last guitar post with a crude plan, here is a pic of how the head will look.

Exactly 2 minutes of music

At the end of May this year Kim and I had a bit of a “creative” day, she was doing all things Finestimaginary whilst I got my laptop, FX board and a guitar or two out and played about with things for a while.

The result is the following piece of noise, its definitely rough around the edges particularly the repetition and lead guitar at the end but meh, if I don’t put it up no one but me will ever hear it… (*secretly hopes it inspires @RainDogJones to out do me!*)


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Mead Time

Every year for (*searches memory… I was definitely still living at my parents*) … lots of years I have made at least one demijohn’s worth of mead. For those who don’t know mead is honey wine and dates back (according to the Wikis) to 7000BCE. Its awesome served at either room temperature or chilled.

The basic recipe for about a gallon (8 pints, 4.54 litres) is dead easy:-

  • 3lb of Honey (I recommend anything other than the very cheapest, and make sure its pasteurised).
  • Just less than 8 pints of water.
  • 1-2 tsp Yeast (I’ve successfully used bread yeast before).
(You’ll have to excuse my use of non-SI units but I learnt from brewing books my Grandad gave me, which were given to him as presents by my Mum and Aunt when they were young).

Heat the water to hot but not boiling and add the Honey, and stir so it mixes well. Real winemakers would here check the specific gravity of the mixture so once fermentation is complete they will know the alcohol content. I just assume a value of >10% by vol.

Allow to cool to sort of body temperature and transfer it to a sterilised demijohn then add the yeast. Put in an airlock and you are done!

Wait about 3 months at the most then transfer to empty and clean wine bottles, cork and allow to settle. These things get better with age, I am currently drinking some Plum mead I made last year (at the end of summer with Kim’s parents plum surplus) and its damn good.

There are a few variations on the theme such as Pyment (honey and grape juice), Metheglin (spiced mead *also an awesome word*) and melomel (honey and fruit juice). The photos here are from a metheglin/melomel I made this Sunday by adding 10 whole cloves to the hot honey mix and replacing 400ml of water with apple juice. Whilst I was cooking its smelled really good, I’ll let you know how it tastes.

Cigar Box Guitar pt. I

Oh first post… excellent! Errm Hi! I am hoping to chronicle some the projects I am currently undertaking on this very blog.  The first of these is a project I have been thinking about in one form or another for years, basically I want to build a guitar.

Ever since I started playing when I was 14ish I kinda wanted to build one. Then I realised how expensive that would be and that I had no practical woodworking skills (still don’t), so it remained an just an idea … I pretty much have my ideal electric guitar designed somewhere in the back of my mind.

Then a few months ago, I started thinking about the most basic guitar I could build… a cigar box guitar! So I googled it and found this awesome site which has an inspiring gallery section (see next pic) and a ‘how to’ section.

After a bit of browsing there I thought “I can do that!” So I am going to, I have a nice dilapidated garage to work in, a bunch of second hand tools and a budget I set myself of 60 quid.

In very much the same way I cook, I have read the ‘how to’ section and selected which bits I am going to pay attention to and which bits I am going to ignore. Right now I am still buying bits for the build, so I’ll leave you with a bad picture of what I am generously calling a plan! Its going to be awesome…